Last week marked a momentous occasion for our little sari blanket business! I created & posted an internship position for our business. All spring and summer, I’ve felt this same feeling pressed upon me: You need help. Expand the tribe. Get others involved. Supplement your weaknesses. Don’t try to do it all on your own.
Finally, I was ready for more people around here, I was ready to let go of some things, I was ready to take charge as a leader that can fearlessly captain this ship!
So, I posted it on my personal facebook page, as a start. Then I received a text message from my friend who owns a flower shop:
Huh. Yes. *Excellent* questions. I’m thinking perhaps I should have asked these questionsbefore posting it. Who’s in charge around here, anyways? Doesn’t anyone know what they’re doing?! [because other similar businesses in the USA run robust unpaid internship programs, I had not considered local, Canadian rules]
A couple of weeks ago, I attended the Yellow Conference, which was a group of 300 women “creatives” (bloggers, photographers, graphic designers, interior designers, etc.) working with a greater purpose. It sounds kind of pretentious, but maybe that’s what I am because it was a whole room of other women just like me!
Anyhow, one of the workshop leaders, Becky Simpson, said something that really resounded with me. She said that at points well along in her self-employment, she still felt like an impostor. “I was too far in to admit: I didn’t know what I was doing!” At least, she felt like she was too far in. Shame & embarrassment ruled; “how can I ask for help now?” she worried.
Hearing that was a huge relief to me. Other people also don't know what they're doing? Fortunately, shame & embarrassment don't get too much in my way. Pride, though... I can be too proud to ask for help or to admit need or failure. But, Becky's admission emboldened me; I was ready! The great irony is that when I finally embraced it and stepped out to ask for help, it completely revealed how much I don’t know!
When I started out, I knew very little about saris, blankets, kantha, importing, business... I’ve learned heaps since starting dignify and have a lot of wisdom to share, but I have NOT got it all figured out, friends. I often still feel like “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
Whether an entrepreneur, a shopper, a mom, a manager… don’t we all feel like this? Or is it just me?
We've listened to the soundtrack to The Greatest Showman countless times in my house (or, as my music app tells me: around 30), and the chorus of this song — "Never Enough" — keeps ringing through my head.
The song itself is about love (ie. without you, all the amazing things in the world will never be enough), but as we head into the busiest shopping season of the year, I feel like "Never Enough" is the battle cry of retail marketing.
“We don’t hire homies to bake bread, we bake bread to hire homies.”
I have often written about my love & admiration for Father Greg Boyle (Father G) and the work he has done with the gang population in Los Angeles with Homeboy Industries. It is not an easy thing to promote the dignity of people who have been involved in violent criminality, finding kinship in mutual love and respect.
This line — “We don’t hire homies to bake bread, we bake bread to hire homies.” — is a perfect description of the complex dynamic of running a business that is, at its core, motivated to employ a marginalized population.
For many of us — perhaps especially if you have kids in school, or an affinity for fall —, September is the perfect time for a fresh start. I wrote last week about my fresh exercise start after a summer of indulgence!
Whether it is the new calendar year, or a new school year, milestones offer a great chance for fresh starts. I think it is a fantastic time to dream about what will be different, what systems can change & improve, and how to begin well.
But here we are, mid-way through September, and I want to offer another thought:
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